Apple Just Made a Huge Improvement to AirPods — and Travelers Are Going to Love It (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 16:57
<p>Traveling with your favorite wireless headphones is about to get even easier.</p><p>AirPods are one of the most coveted, <a href="" target="_blank">travel-friendly wireless headphones</a> for people who are constantly on the go. While they have always been innovative, offering a few blissful hours of talk time and music play, they’ve still had some drawbacks (namely battery life for those power-users out there).</p><p>But according to Apple, that’s all about to change.</p><p>The company <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">announced on Wednesday</a> that the newest generation of AirPods are going to improve user experience immensely thanks to the new H1 chip the company has developed.</p><img alt="Apple airpods "src=""><p>The introduction of the chip into the new AirPods means that users get 50 percent more talk time (about an hour more), faster connect times, at least 24 hours of music listening, and hands-free operating using the new “Hey Siri” feature, according to the announcement.</p><p>Users can also buy their new headphones with a wireless charging case that makes it even easier to stay at 100 percent all the time. Which means your headphones won’t suddenly go dead when you’re 30,000 feet in the air. It’s a dream come true.</p><p>“AirPods delivered a magical wireless experience and have become one of the most beloved products we’ve ever made,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing in the announcement. “The world’s best wireless headphones just got even better.”</p><p>The new Siri feature lets users change songs, make a call, or even adjust the volume just by saying “Hey Siri.” Say goodbye to fumbling between your headphones, ticket, passport, and suitcase. That’s one less thing to worry about, anyway.</p><p>The new AirPods can come with a standard charging case for $159 or a wireless case for $199. Or, anyone can order a wireless case by itself for $79.</p><p>The new AirPods are available on the Apple Store app and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Apple website</a> now and will be in Apple Stores beginning next week.</p><p>More information can be found on the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Apple website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Photographer Behind T+L’s April 2019 Covers Reveals How He Got the Shot

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 16:46
<p>Our April cover takes us to the remote, rugged Caribbean island of <a href="" target="_blank">Dominica</a>, where writer Gina DeCaprio Vercesi <a href="" target="_blank">reports from a trail-clearing trip</a> to <a href="" target="_blank">Secret Bay</a> resort — examining how properties on the island are encouraging travelers to take part in hurricane recovery efforts. </p><p>For the first time in many issues, April has two covers: one which you'll see on newsstands around the country, the other exclusively for subscribers. Both were shot by New York-based photographer <a href="" target="_blank">Noe DeWitt</a>, who was just back from the British Virgin Islands on assignment to capture the <a href="" target="_blank">dreamy cover of our February issue</a>.</p><p>His next trip, though, won't be to the Caribbean. After the March 26 release of his book with Anthony Iannacci, <em><a aria-describedby="external-disclaimer" href="" target="_blank" title="(opens new window)">New York Design At Home</a> </em>(Abrams, $60), he's headed to Italy for a spring break with family. "These trips are the ultimate photograph sessions with my children," he says.</p><img alt="View from Secret Bay, in Dominica "src=""><p>T+L recently spoke with the photographer about his trip to Dominica, the best time of day for photographing perfectly turquoise water, and how he got to the beach where "Pirates of the Caribbean" was filmed: </p><p><strong>T+L: Had you ever traveled to Dominica before? Any first impressions?</strong></p><p><strong>Noe DeWitt: "</strong>This was my first trip to Dominica. It is extremely lush with vegetation, so flying over the island was incredible. <br />There are dramatic mountains, and the jagged coastline along the northern Atlantic side of the island is intense. Reminded me a bit of Jurassic Park. The island has many first-class dive spots, with giant rock formations under crystal clear blue water — if I had more time there, I would definitely put my PADI [Professional Association of Diving Instructors] certification to the test." </p><img alt="View from Secret Bay Resort in Dominica, on the April 2019 cover of Travel + Leisure magazine "src=""><p><strong>The newsstand cover was shot at Secret Bay, a resort on the island. What was it like shooting there?</strong></p><p>"Secret Bay is intimate, peaceful, and beautifully designed. You can truly 'check out' while staying there. It is very photogenic, but shooting was a bit challenging in that most of the resort is on a very steep hill. The villas are perched on cliffs, allowing for incredible views of the mountains and sea. Roaming the property for 'the shot' was quite fun — climbing around the grounds, walking along the cliffs. We even photographed the resort from a hired boat to get as many options as possible." </p><p><strong>Can you describe where you were when you took this cover? (I love the interesting focus, and how it feels like you were surrounded by plants.)</strong></p><p>"I took this photo from the path to my villa. Throughout my stay, I kept photographing this same view, over and over, at different times of day. I loved the layers between the foreground, mid-distance, and the horizon of the sea. Just below the frame is a cliff down to Secret Bay Beach — which you can only access by boat." </p><img alt="Batibou Beach, in Dominica "src=""><p><strong>Where were you when you took the beach picture on the subscriber cover? How did you get that overhead shot?</strong></p><p>"This is Batibou Beach, where many of the beach scenes in "Pirates of the Caribbean" were filmed. Most people get here by driving down a long dirt road through a private coconut palm farm. However, I decided I wanted to hike in and walk through the coconut grove. I parked on the main island road and hiked about a mile and a half. For this picture, I was probably about 500 feet above the beach, on the side of a dirt road, photographing as the sun ducked in and out of the clouds." </p><p><strong>What times of day did you take both pictures? What type of equipment did you use?</strong></p><p>"The newsstand cover was taken at the end of the day, just before total sunset. The Batibou Beach shot was around 11:00 AM — just before high noon, which is generally not an ideal time to take photographs, but great for capturing the bluest water. I used my trusty Canon 1-DX Mark II Camera with a Canon 50mm L-series fixed lens for both covers." <br /> </p>
Categories: Travel

How Your Instagram Geotag Might Be Putting Wild Animals and Natural Areas at Risk Around the World

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 10:01
<p>Undoubtedly, the advent of <a href="" target="_blank">social media changed the way we travel</a>. Take one look through your Instagram or Facebook feed and you’ll likely come across at least a post or two that gives you just a touch of jealousy or inspires your wanderlust.</p><p>While all that posting certainly has its perks — like getting more people to get out and see the globe — it can also bring unexpected downsides that are becoming more and more critical to understand. Especially the issues brought on by geotagging.</p><p>In case you’re unaware, here’s how geotagging works: While traveling with an internet-connected device like a cellphone, a person may knowingly or unknowingly share their location thanks to global positioning system, or GPS, technology.</p><p>GPS technology, first developed for the military, is used in both your car’s navigation system and any map apps on your phone. As <em><a href="" target="_blank">How Stuff Works</a></em> explained, “GPS photo tagging, also known as geotagging, is the process of embedding a digital photo with latitude, longitude and even altitude data.”</p><p>While being precise is great for navigation, it may also be giving nefarious people — like poachers — a leg up in finding their prey.</p><p>“Poachers are now using unsuspecting tourists to hunt their prey,” Sherwin Banda, president of <a href="" target="_blank">Africa Travel Inc</a>., shared with <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. <b>“</b>While on <a href="" target="_blank">safari</a>, tourists post photos of animals to social media sites, not realizing that embedded within the post or the photo is a geo-tag containing the GPS location of the photo. This allows poachers to track animals of value.”</p><p>Of course, it’s not just animals who are harmed by geotags. Landscapes and natural areas are suffering thanks to too many people trampling the land just to get the same shot as a social media influencer.</p><p><em><a href="">The New York Times</a></em> reported in 2018 that <a href="" target="_blank">Delta Lake</a>, a remote area in the Grand Tetons, became one such place after influencers discovered its beauty.</p><p>“Influencers started posting from the top of the lake. Then it started racing through social media,” Brian Modena, a tourism-board member from Jackson Hole, told <i>The Times</i>. Modena noted that just a few years ago perhaps just one or two hikers would make the nine-mile journey to Delta Lake each day. Now, however, he said as many as 145 people hike it just to get the same exact photo. Because of this, smaller trails are now heavily trafficked, leading to erosion of precious land.</p><p>“We want people to have a real connection to nature,” Modena said, “not just a page with a pin on it.”</p><p>To combat the problem groups like <a href="" target="_blank">Hikers For An 8th Leave No Trace Principle</a> are suggesting updating the Leave No Trace guidelines to include: “Be mindful when posting on social media and consider the potential impacts that rapidly increased use can have on wild places,” and “Use discretion when posting on social media and consider the potential impacts of creating a ‘buzz’ about specific destinations.”</p><p>This could mean using no geotag at all, or at the very least using broader tags like a state or even a county’s tag rather than a specific location.</p><p>“There are a lot of reasons why people want to showcase where they have been. Bragging rights. It’s an unusual place.” Dana Watts, the executive director of <a href="" target="_blank">Leave No Trace</a>, told <em>The New York Times</em>. “We just want people to stop and think before they share a location.”</p><p>“While tagging can seem innocent,” she noted, “it can lead to significant impact.”</p><p>Want to turn off your GPS completely on social media? Banda suggested travelers follow these simple steps:</p><p><strong>iPhone:</strong><b> </b> On your iPhone head to the “settings” tab then “privacy” and “location services.” You can turn off location services entirely or just on your phone’s camera.</p><p><strong>Android:</strong> On Android head to “settings” and then “geotags” to disable.</p><p><strong>Twitter:</strong> The good news with Twitter is that geotagging will only be turned on in the app on your phone if you have done so manually in the settings menu under the privacy tab. If you turned it on but now want to turn it off, just head there and do so.</p><p><strong>Facebook:</strong><b> </b>On Facebook, “settings” tab then “privacy” and “location services.” On the page select “never.”</p><p><strong>Instagram:</strong> And finally on Instagram, just choose not to add a location tag, or again, add an extremely generic tag instead. This way, you’ll be protecting the land and the animals for future generations to enjoy as well.</p>
Categories: Travel

Reese Witherspoon Celebrated Her Birthday by Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 09:18
<p><em>Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission</em></p><p>Judging from Instagram, <a href="" target="_blank">Reese Witherspoon’s</a> taking a well deserved break at the beach for her birthday, and her dreamy tropical posts have us yearning for summer. The successful actress, author, producer, and entrepreneur has a lot to celebrate as she turns 43, and spending a <a href="" target="_blank">weekend in the islands with family</a> sounds like the ideal way to do it.</p><p>She announces she’s “off duty” with an Instagram Story from a boat, with nothing but the sea in sight. She hasn’t shared her specific location, but we’re pretty confident she’s in the Bahamas: there’s swimming pigs, gorgeous beaches and a vast ocean in breathtaking shades of blue.</p><p>Based on her <a href="" target="_blank">Instagram post</a> (and posts from her nieces, Draper and Abby James), Witherspoon and fam appear to be in the<a href="" target="_blank"> Abacos</a>, part of what’s called the “<a href="" target="_blank">Out Islands</a>” of the Bahamas — islands that are farther out and thus more secluded than heavily populated hotspots like Nassau. Her photo pictures the distinctive pink pier at <a href="" target="_blank">Treasure Sands Club</a> — an upscale beach club decorated in pastel pink and blue, with indoor/outdoor dining plus beach access and a pool — located in Treasure Cay.</p><p>She also pays a visit to the <a href="" target="_blank">swimming pigs of the Bahamas</a>, which were originally concentrated in the Exumas, but in recent years they’ve migrated to the Abacos as well. The closest place to Treasure Cay with beach pigs is No Name Cay, a quick 15-minute boat ride away. By the way, you don’t have to be rich and famous to island hop in the Bahamas: Albury’s Ferry Service runs between several islands in the Abacos seven days a week, and most rides only take half an hour or less. You can purchase 10 trips for $118 ($57 for kids).</p><p>Of course, what we really want to know is what someone like Witherspoon brings for a trip to the islands. (And whether she packs like her mother, who’s been known to <a href="" target="_blank">bring a shot of vodka for her Ensure shakes</a>.) Fortunately, Witherspoon spills all in an Instagram Story showing the contents of her beach bag.</p><p>In addition to staples like sunglasses and a hat — hers is straw, like what you can purchase at Bahamian straw markets — she also includes sunscreen in the form of Elizabeth Arden’s <a href=";tag=tlreesebirthday-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B01BNWIXHK&amp;linkId=17e8973923c7bca7c91049d036fe0a3f">PREVAGE City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield</a> ($68 for 1.3 fl. oz.), a blue floral <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">V-Neck Flutter Sleeve Dress</a> by her own clothing line Draper James, and the newly released book “<a href=";tag=tlreesebirthday-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=1524798622&amp;linkId=2f706b02e4d0a4796921b4ac7f6b20e0">Daisy Jones &amp; The Six</a>,” her March <a href="" target="_blank">Reese’s Book Club</a> pick (it’s also a <a href="" target="_blank">Book of the Month</a> March selection).</p><p>Leave it to Reese to find a gripping beach read for spring break. She writes, “The book centers on the meteoric rise of a rock band in the ‘70s and its lead singers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne, whose connection is as electric as the music they make together. It’s sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, people!!”</p><p>She also announced that her media company Hello Sunshine — responsible for movies like “Wild” and “Gone Girl” and the hit HBO series <em>Big Little Lies</em> — is turning the book into a TV show with Amazon Studios, so you may want to make like Reese and read it before it hits screens.</p><p><i> </i>In her sentimental birthday post, she reflects, “I am so lucky to walk through this world with you all.” We’re thankful for you too, Reese, but next time we’d like an invite to walk with you along the beach.</p>
Categories: Travel

United Is the First U.S. Airline to Offer Non-binary Identification While Booking

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 07:48
<p><a href="" target="_blank">United</a> just made a big move in favor of gender equality in the travel industry.</p><p>The company <a href="" target="_blank">announced on Friday</a> that it is officially the first U.S. airline to include non-binary gender options for customers while booking flights.</p><p>While most major airlines usually only offer the binary options “male” and “female” or variations of “Mr.” and “Ms.”, United will be offering the gender-neutral title “Mx.” along with the gender options “M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified).”</p><p>United invited customers to “Fly how you identify” in a tweet announcing the new options.</p><p>“United is excited to share with our customers, whether they identify along the binary of male or female or not, that we are taking the steps to exhibit our care for them while also providing additional employee training to make us even more welcoming for all customers and employees,” United's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said in the <a href="" target="_blank">company’s statement</a>.</p><p>Beck Bailey, acting director of the Workplace Equality Program at the Human Rights Campaign, added in the statement that United implementing these new options is “taking an important step forward for non-binary inclusion.”</p><p>It is important to note, however, that these options must also correspond to a person’s gender that is marked on their passports and identification as well in order to fly. This can make matters complicated for non-binary and transgender people who have to jump through legal hoops to get their gender assignment changed on their identification.</p><p>If a person marks their non-binary identity on their ticket and it does not match their passport or ID, they can run the risk of being turned away at airport security. This rule also applies to your birth date and your name. Even a <a href="" target="_blank">wrong or omitted middle name</a> on your documents can end up throwing a wrench in your travel plans.</p><p>Luckily, systems for identification are changing. Many states now offer non-binary birth certificates and IDs, according to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The New York Times</a></em>.</p><p>United is working with LGBTQ organizations like The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project in order to train employees on sensitivity, including using preferred pronouns. The company hopes to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity.”</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>, other airlines like American Airlines and Southwest Airlines may also follow suit. Back in February, Airlines for America, a trade association that represents many U.S. airlines <a href="" target="_blank">approved a standard of best practices</a> that allow for non-binary IDs, according to <em>People</em>.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Caribbean Island Beloved by Adventure Seekers Is Inviting Travelers to Help with Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 06:26
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Dominica</a> is a wild place, but nothing in its wilds can hurt you. No venomous snakes lurk along the jungle trails. No deadly insects skitter beneath the layer of duff that carpets the rain-forest floor. Instead of menacing critters, I saw gulf fritillaries open and close their wings atop fiery blossoms, territorial hummingbirds flit in an iridescent blur to ward off trespassers, and golden-armored land crabs stand at attention, pincers outstretched in mock threat.</p><p>Unlike other spots in the West Indies, where the primary lure is lounging on a powder-white shore with a cocktail, travelers journey to Dominica, a volcanic island between <a href="" target="_blank">Martinique</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Guadeloupe</a>, for adventure. Miles of rain-forest trails lead to black-sand beaches fringed by coral reefs, to waterfalls that cascade into swimming holes, and to a bubbling fumarole — a rift in the earth’s crust near a volcano — called <a href="" target="_blank">Boiling Lake</a>.</p><img alt="A honeymoon villa at Secret Bay, in Dominica "src=""><p>One humid morning last December, I slogged up the <a href="" target="_blank">Waitukubuli National Trail</a> in the rain. On the last section of the slope, I dropped onto a log, where my guides, two young Dominicans named Dylan and Fabian, were taking a breather. They had come to clear debris left by <a href="" target="_blank">Hurricane Maria</a>, and I had come to lend a hand.</p><p>Outdoor enthusiasts champion Dominica as an ecotourism destination, in part because of the 115-mile Waitukubuli, which stretches the length of the island. It’s divided into 14 segments, each of which can be hiked in a day. But the trail became impassable after Maria ripped through Dominica in 2017, bringing high winds and driving rains that also wiped out farmland and villages. Now, island hotels and guides have introduced post-hurricane voluntourism projects, including trail rehabilitation, for visitors who wish to assist in the recovery.</p><p>My <a href="" target="_blank">home base on Dominica</a> was the newly reopened <a href="" target="_blank">Secret Bay</a> resort, six private villas on the northwestern coast. Through the resort’s concierge, I connected with Annette Peyer Loerner, a Swiss expat who owns the rustic <a href="" target="_blank">Tamarind Tree Hotel</a> with her husband, Stefan. After the hurricane, Annette adopted Segment 11 of the trail, taking responsibility for its clearing and maintenance. Since work began, Annette has cleared about one-third of the eight-mile stretch, part of which passes through <a href="" target="_blank">Morne Diablotin National Park</a>, home to Morne Diablotin, the island’s tallest mountain.</p><p>My day on the Waitukubuli began when I met up with Annette at the trailhead, where she was waiting with a few other volunteers. We set out along the cleared portion of Segment 11. After an hour of hiking, we reached the point where work had stopped. Fabian stepped into the dense undergrowth and pulled out power tools that had been concealed under a tarp. Annette opened a rucksack that held scythes, rakes, and heavy gloves. As she doled out the equipment, Fabian fired up the chain saw. Up the trail, he cut fallen trunks and limbs that obstructed our path while Dylan whacked at a tangle of vines and razor grass. The rest of us followed behind, heaving logs and heaps of brush into the surrounding forest.</p><p>When I wasn’t working, my bungalow at Secret Bay provided a plush refuge. Each morning I sipped coffee on the deck overlooking <a href="" target="_blank">Cabrits National Park</a> while bananaquits perched on the railing, eyeing my breakfast papaya. A wooden staircase wound down to Tibay Beach, where I snorkeled beside a rocky cliff, watching multicolored parrotfish munch on coral.</p><p>Secret Bay’s owner, Gregor Nassief, has a passion for immersing his guests in the culture and natural beauty of the island. I drank a sorrel-and-ginger infusion and dined on invasive (and delicious) lionfish speared by Don Mitchell, the resort’s boat captain. I paddled the Indian River with Fire (born Patrickson Lockhart), a dreadlocked boatman who pointed out native flora. And I searched the trees for parrots on the Syndicate Nature Trail with local ornithologist Bertrand Jno Baptiste, otherwise known as Dr. Birdy.</p><img alt="Scenes from Dominica "src=""><p>Despite the plywood-covered windows, headless coconut trees, and sheets of galvanized roofing along the roadside, there were moments when I almost forgot Maria had been here. Every afternoon, gentle mountain rains mixed with sunlight to paint huge rainbows that arced over the shoreline. Hills that had been stripped bare burst with bright green foliage. Roads and hotels had reopened. And the island’s rare, endemic parrots, the sisserou and the jaco, announced their presence with distinctive squawks, allaying fears that they had fled to Guadeloupe — though they stayed hidden during our morning mission on Segment 11.</p><p>That afternoon I floated in the warm sea, letting the salt water bathe the incisions the razor grass had made on my skin. Overhead, the daily rainbow began to take shape, along with the glimmer of a twin, and I recalled that a local woman I’d met at dinner the night before had told me there had been more double rainbows since Maria.</p><p>“I think,” she said, “that it’s nature’s way of cheering us up.”</p><p>To book: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, doubles from $909.</p><p><em>Discover Dominica and Secret Bay provided support for the reporting of this story.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

California's Super Bloom Even Looks Beautiful From Space

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 05:15
<p>Earlier this month, California’s Walker Canyon shut down to visitors. Its vibrant super bloom display of poppies was so popular, <a href="" target="_blank">it created a public safety crisis.</a> The park reopened after three days, but <a href=";theater" target="_blank">the town warned that parking was going to be extremely limited</a> and it might take time to access the trails.</p><p>But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to see the phenomenon — like from space.</p><p>The WorldView-2 satellite (owned by DigitalGlobe) photographed the spectacular display as seen from space on March 19. The image shows vibrant patches of orange and green blooming along the canyon.</p><img alt="Overview of the California superbloom at Walker Canyon "src=""><p>If you zoom in closely, it’s possible to see a long line of cars waiting in traffic to get into the canyon. People walking along the trails are also visible in the photograph.</p><img alt="Traffic and poppies at Walker Canyon "src=""><p>The super bloom, although still rare, could become more frequent in southern California. <a href="" target="_blank">The last super bloom was in 2017</a> but the last one before that took place in 2008.</p><p>The super blooms are likely caused by changes in climate and a particularly rainy season this past winter.</p><p>However, towns are struggling to meet the surge of visitors coming to see the flowers. One small southern California town says that it had <a href="" target="_blank">more than 500,000 visitors in 2017</a> during the last super bloom. This year, the town pre-prepared for the visitor surge with plans for crowd and traffic control.</p><img alt="Hikers on Walker Canyon trail during 2019 California poppy bloom "src=""><p>Regardless of a town’s level of preparedness, those who are planning on visiting the super blooms on the ground should abide by the <a href="" target="_blank">“leave no trace” travel motto</a>. Responsible travel this year will ensure that the towns will welcome visitors for future blooms.</p>
Categories: Travel

Prince Charles Mixes Business With Pleasure on Royal Trip to the Caribbean

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 16:13
<p>Prince William and <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry</a> may get all the attention now, but we’re here to remind you that 70-year-old Prince Charles is the original handsome British Prince of people’s dreams.</p><p>This week, Charles and his wife Camilla kicked off a 13-day tour of the Caribbean. As <em><a href="" target="_blank">Town &amp; Country</a></em> reported, the royal pair will make an appearance at a whopping 50 engagements on 10 islands during their stay.</p><img alt="Prince Charles in The Caribbean "src=""><p>But, even with this ridiculously packed schedule the duo still made time to relax on the beach in Barbados. Because — let’s be real — there’s no way you can go to Barbados and not dive into the <a href="" target="_blank">crystal blue Caribbean waters</a>. And, the paparazzi photos of Charles reminded everyone that he’s the OG of royal heartthrobs.</p><p>While the photos are dashing the couple is reportedly not all that pleased that their downtime became a part of the bigger story. <em>Town and Country reported that, </em>according to the British Press Association, "a source said the pictures were taken during a brief off-duty moment on a major international tour on behalf of the Government, in circumstances where the couple would have a reasonable expectation of privacy during private down time."</p><p>So, after their quick dip the duo quickly got back to their official royal duties, which are of much greater importance than their swim.</p><p>For example, on their first official stop in St. Lucia, Prince Charles gave a speech that called attention to the local sustainability efforts on the islands.</p><p>“Climate change,” he said, “poses nothing short of an existential threat to this island as it does to every part of this region.”</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Reuters</a>, the Prince specifically called out a program that aims to map St. Lucia’s seabed, which is supported by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Program, as an effort that holds the “potential to help develop St. Lucia’s vital blue economy in significant and sustainable ways.”</p><img alt="Prince Charles in The Caribbean "src=""><p>The Prince and his wife are now on their way to other islands including <a href="" target="_blank">St. Vincent and the Grenadines</a>, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada. Prince Charles will also be the first British royal to visit <a href="" target="_blank">Cuba</a>. That trip, Charles’ <a href="" target="_blank">website</a> explained, is meant "to highlight the growing bilateral relationship with the U.K. and showcase some of the cultural links between the two countries."</p>
Categories: Travel

Why the Best Places to Hang Out in Los Angeles Are Its Hotels

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 15:40
<p>It’s a scene that plays out on Saturday mornings across the land: a line of people winds out the door of a small diner where, all weekend long, athleisure-clad families fill the dozen or so stools that flank a curved counter. As they thumb the papers, linger over partially eaten plates of <a href="" target="_blank">eggs Benedict and silver-dollar pancakes</a>, and lift their mugs to request refills of joe, they give no inkling that the Fountain Coffee Room is anything but a neighborhood joint, because that is exactly what it is — an institution that locals casually refer to as the Counter. You’d never know that <a href="" target="_blank">Marilyn Monroe</a> loved getting late-night ice cream here or that this is where the members of Guns N’ Roses signed their first record deal. And unless you recognized the embroidered crest on the napkins or the wallpaper emblazoned with waving <a href="" target="_blank">banana-palm leaves</a> or the Chanel-pink doggie bag boxes bearing the <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Beverly Hills Hotel</a></strong> logo, you’d also have no clue you’re in a hotel.</p><p>“Of course it’s in a hotel,” says Alison Werner, a thirtysomething talent booker and SoCal native, when I meet her after breakfast. “This is L.A. Here, we actually hang out in hotels.”</p><img alt="Friends having brunch at the Bel-Air Hotel "src=""><p>This comes as some bit of reassurance to me. In the three years since relocating from New York City, I’ve found myself hanging out at area hotels with a frequency that I thought might have branded me an outsider. But it’s like the writer and cultural critic Fran Lebowitz said: “<a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> is a large city-like area surrounding the Beverly Hills Hotel.” Except, with all due respect to the consummate New Yorker, her cheeky observation is incomplete. Actually, there are a handful of hotels, arrayed in a loose cluster across West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air, that compose the true focal point of the city. Their bars and lobbies, dining rooms and poolsides are the City of Angels’ main drags and town squares.</p><p>“I always found Los Angeles singular among world-class cities in its lack of a central hub. There’s literally no there there, as they say,” hotelier André Balazs notes. “A hotel can fill that void.” That was the idea when he purchased <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Chateau Marmont</a> </strong>in 1990, understanding that the stately Loire Valley–style château rising above the comedy clubs and nightclubs of the Sunset Strip had long served as a clubhouse for the elite. It’s never been alone in that role, though over the years the cast of hotels has changed as the city has. During Tinseltown’s Golden Age, the <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Hollywood Roosevelt</a></strong> played the same part, as did the <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Beverly Wilshire</a></strong>, which is now staking its claim anew as a Four Seasons. Even as the city is awash in fresh energy, with ever richer culinary offerings, thriving art and cultural scenes, and the ascendance of Downtown L.A. and Venice, the tradition of treating hotels as hearths has happily endured.</p><p>“A hotel, if done correctly, serves as a second home,” says hotelier and restaurateur Jeff Klein, whose locally landmarked Art Deco <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Sunset Tower Hotel</a></strong> fills the bill by design, thanks to the dinner destination Tower Bar and the recently renovated pool and terrace. Several other properties — old and new — do the same, each in its own distinct way: the opulent, hidden-in-plain-sight refuge <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills</a></strong>; the intimate and welcoming <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Palihouse West Hollywood</a></strong>, which packs boho-chic charm; and the venerable <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Bel-Air</a></strong>, a canyon retreat whose faraway feel belies its proximity to West L.A.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Top 10 City Hotels in Greater Los Angeles</a></p><p>For out-of-towners, Los Angeles’s hotel-as-hub phenomenon can put an improbable, ironic twist on an itinerary. In most cities, the authentic local experiences visitors crave come from leaving the hotel — not blocking out more time there. “In the case of the Chateau,” Balazs says, “the same thing that appeals to visitors actually is something of vital necessity to residents of L.A. — a sense of place.” The Castle on Sunset, as the Chateau is also known, dates from 1929 and exudes Old Hollywood appeal. Long before the mismatched aesthetic was in vogue, the Chateau embraced eclectic, lounge-worthy furniture that would deliver the comforts of home. Over the years, many famous figures have taken up full-time residence here, but even lingering for a few hours can act as a salve for the loneliness that tends to afflict Angelenos, isolated in their cars and secluded hillside abodes.</p><p>And the Chateau is a celebrity in its own right, steeped in <a href="" target="_blank">Hollywood history, glamour, and legendary bad behavior</a>. Jean Harlow hosted lovers here during her honeymoon, Jim Morrison swung from the balconies, and John Belushi died of an overdose in one of the bungalows. (The dishy new book <em>The Castle on Sunset </em>marks the Chateau’s 90th year with a history of its trysts, deals, addictions, and art.) The property may as well be the uncredited lead in Sofia Coppola’s <em>Somewhere</em>, a film ostensibly about displacement and ennui that also shows the human connection and bonhomie a hotel can provide. It’s a love letter to the Chateau’s many charms, including the intimate pool and personable waiters and valets, who in real life somehow manage to learn your name and know which car is yours before you can shift into park. These touches add to the Chateau’s air of exclusivity, which, while overstated, is reinforced by the star power on display during seemingly every visit.</p><img alt="scenes from iconic LA Hotels "src=""><p>While eating dinner on the veranda recently, I see several pop starlets at the tables. During a visit to the bungalow housing Chateau Hanare, Marmont’s year-old kaiseki restaurant, the cast of a premium cable show spills out of a private dining room. Over the course of one recent day, Quentin Tarantino sits in the sunken living room writing out notes in longhand on script pages, first on a low chair, then on a higher love seat, before finally settling into an armchair that seems to get his artistic juices flowing. A few days later, the space plays host to music executives lunching before meeting with colleagues and counterparts, taking calls, then wooing a pair of hip-hop artists over a drink — all without changing their location — until it’s time to amble a few yards for their dinner reservation.</p><p>Call this devotion to place enlightened inertia, an increasingly popular approach to efficient planning in this traffic-congested city whose mantra is map twice, drive once. Even established hotels have adapted to become multi-act stopovers, encouraging post-lunch laptop sessions that blend into evening engagements. At the Sunset Tower, which offers nearly every amenity except a sizable lobby, Klein reimagined the pool patio and the terrace, which had long been afterthoughts, adding a sultry new bar area with banquettes and booths for meetings over drinks. They now present a relaxed daytime precursor and nighttime alternative to the elegant and exclusive Tower Bar across the lobby, which has seen its own evolution.</p><p>Last year, when Gabé Doppelt, a former fashion editor and onetime acolyte of Anna Wintour, replaced Dimitri Dimitrov as the maître d’ at Tower Bar, she assumed the mantle of Hollywood’s most empowered host — and de facto social kingmaker. In Los Angeles, this changing of the guard at Tower Bar was treated like a peaceful transfer of power almost on par with a presidential inauguration. While Doppelt has honored traditions (the dress code and the no-photos rule, instituted after an unfortunate J.Lo incident, remain), she has also ushered in changes. In her hands, the Tower Bar’s reservation lists and seating chart are constructed less around the entertainment establishment and more with an eye toward contemporary eclecticism. Directing traffic with a trace of a South African accent, Doppelt confidently mixes and matches contrasting crowds, as if continuously curating a highly personalized cocktail party. “Changing the mix is essential,” she says. “It stops us from becoming stale.”</p><img alt="Gabe Doppelt at the Tower Bar "src=""><p>Reservations remain as elusive as ever, and some area residents will go so far as booking a hotel room, knowing that it’s the best way to score a coveted table. “Guests get preferential treatment in that regard,” Klein says of Tower Bar. “If you’re an out-of-towner and you’re not staying here, it’s going to be pretty hard to get in. The truth is, it’s 80 percent locals every night.”</p><p>That kind of client base is a seal of authenticity sought by all hoteliers, precisely because residents are the most discerning returning customers. “One thing that stunned me is how many people live in the area and come here,” Doppelt says. “We have one guest, Lev, who’s been coming for 12 years, maybe four times a week. He stands in the exact same place at the bar and he knows all our staff. He will even start telling guests about the history of the hotel. He’s a neighbor — that’s it.”</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Eat Your Way Through Los Angeles With Angeleno Chef Wes Avila</a></p><p>The connection runs both ways. Doppelt also calls Lev part of the family, based on affection for him—not his stature, station, or domestic proximity. “We have guests who, if there’s a death in the family,” Doppelt adds, “we’ll either go to the memorial or the family will come here.”</p><p>These sort of bonds aren’t cemented overnight. “You can’t just open a place and become a hub,” says Avi Brosh, the CEO and founder of Palisociety. “It takes a long time to become part of the fabric within a community. It has to be a friendly neighborhood place. It has to grow on you.” His company opened Palihouse West Hollywood a decade ago, seeking to create “a place that was a little bit less defined, more like a student union.” It was modeled on social-clubs-cum-hotels like Soho House (which opened a West Hollywood location of its members-only club, sans hotel, two years later), with a lobby, bar area, and garden restaurant that flow seamlessly into one another, each inviting like-minded creative types to while away the time. It can feel like a co-working space, a Parisian café, and a cocktail lounge — often all at once. As I perch at the bar, hip young Busy Philipps look-alikes clack away on their laptops, a young foursome toasts, and a spectacled fortysomething professional greets his lunch mate, whom he’s introducing to the place: “My quirky-cool assistant turned me on to it. Small but nice, right?”</p><img alt="Scenes from West Hollywood's Palihouse Hotel "src=""><p>Visitors hoping to drink in L.A.’s glitzy energy sometimes come up dry at the illustrious and idyllic Hotel Bel-Air — a sprawling, leafy oasis tucked partway up Stone Canyon that feels far, far away from, well, everything. That, of course, is its appeal to area residents. The sense of serenity begins when you cross the footbridge over Swan Lake and the white waterfowl float by. It continues through what feels like a rambling country estate, which is what the property was until the 1930s. At the time, it was centered around a massive stable — vestiges of which remain around the pool, whose oval shape is an outline of the riding ring that preceded it. The hotel’s 103 rooms and suites are housed in multiple buildings scattered across 12 acres, so that even when it’s at capacity, it never feels crowded.</p><img alt="Hotel Bel-Air gardens "src=""><p>One happy exception: Sunday brunch, a buoyant, Bellini-fueled, open-air affair for which well-heeled denizens from all over the L.A. area descend on the hotel’s Wolfgang Puck restaurant. It’s rarefied enough for Balenciaga pumps but relaxed enough for New Balance running shoes. Some locals combine it with a trip to the spa, whose monthly memberships are popular among those who live nearby, while others indulge themselves with <a href="" target="_blank">Bloody Marys</a> and splurge on sturgeon caviar.</p><p>The most essential weekday meal, fittingly, is at the Los Angeles area’s most iconic institution. That would be the power lunch at the famed Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel. (If you’ve heard that the Ivy is still the “it spot,” you’ve likely heard that from tourists, who now make up a disproportionate percentage of the Ivy’s patrons.) There’s comfort in being a Polo Lounge regular. As I enter, a woman in business attire rushes by the host and asks, “Is he here yet?” The host nods affirmatively as the woman heads in, the host knowing precisely whom the woman is meeting and the woman knowing precisely which table she has. The most desirable spots are the small booths opposite the bar and, outside, the oversize banquettes that ring the garden, where producers and moguls mingle in full display for other diners. But the enduring appeal of the property, which opened in 1912 and later inspired the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” has been tested in recent years. The hotel became the subject of an impassioned boycott in 2014, after the Sultan of Brunei, whose sovereign wealth fund owns parent company the Dorchester Collection, instituted aspects of sharia law in his home country. But the opposition gradually lost steam, outweighed by affection for the hotel, its staff, and its role as a headquarters for the neighboring community.</p><img alt="Scenes from the Beverly Hills Hotel "src=""><p>If the Polo Lounge is the place Angelenos go to be seen, L’Ermitage is where they go to be unnoticed. “No one here uses the front door,” a greeter says — at the front door. As befits a refuge that prides itself on discretion, a more clandestine entry can be accessed on the parking level — one where the red carpet literally gets rolled out for events during Hollywood’s awards season and for visiting dignitaries. (For locals arriving for lunch or a <a href="" target="_blank">staycation</a>, too.) Once inside the 116-suite hideaway, you’re enveloped in peace and quiet, despite its location near Rodeo Drive. Every detail is refined and restrained. If it seems like a perfect place to recover, it is. Soon after the residential condos were converted to a hotel in the 1970s, the owner built an entire wing for healing patients. Today, there’s a private floor reserved for postsurgical guests who want to be nursed back in the lap of luxury and away from prying eyes. Michael Jackson often convalesced here for months at a time. Of course, plastic surgery isn’t required to pamper oneself at L’Ermitage. Guests will check in to get primped ahead of galas and weddings, in part because of the renowned full-length triptych mirrors. At every turn, the service is reserved yet highly personal, even for guests who aren’t technically people. During lunch at Avec Nous, waiters alert the kitchen staff to prepare their handcrafted dog food as soon as they spot a familiar Great Dane and his owner sitting on the patio.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Designer Marin Hopper Shares Her Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles</a></p><p>Ultimately, the human touch hotels provide is what makes them so essential to residents. Like many visitors to Los Angeles, Joe Zee, a fashion stylist, creative director, and television host, used to wonder why friends in L.A. would be so eager to meet him at his hotel. “I get it now that I live here,” says Zee, a former New Yorker who has called the Hollywood Hills home for the past three years. “I celebrated my last birthday and New Year’s at Tower Bar.”</p><p>When I meet him there to toast the launch of his new Netflix docuseries <em>7 Days Out</em><i>,</i> we grab drinks, followed by dinner with another friend of Zee’s who is in town. “He probably thinks I did it to make it easy for him,” he says with a laugh as we raise our glasses. “But I made a reservation here before I knew where he was staying.”</p><p>As Doppelt glides through the dining room after seating a group of guests, she stops and leans in to chat with Zee and the rest of us. As she stands to leave a few minutes later, she lights up and calls over an anonymous-looking middle-aged man heading toward the bar with a trio of friends. “You must know Lev,” she says to us. “Don’t you?”</p><img alt="Afternoon scene at the Palihouse West Hotel "src=""><h2>Where Angelenos Gather</h2><p>This constellation of six luxe hotels dotted around West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air forms Los Angeles’ true city center.</p><p><strong>Beverly Hills Hotel</strong></p><p>Part of the Dorchester Collection, along with its sister property, the Hotel Bel-Air, the iconic retreat houses two of the city’s most popular dining destinations: the brunch favorite Fountain Coffee Room (entrées $8–$27) and the power-lunch den Polo Lounge (entrées $20–$75). <em><a href="" target="_blank">beverly​hills​</a>; doubles from $595.</em></p><p><strong>Chateau Marmont</strong></p><p>Hotelier André Balazs’s hideaway welcomes Angelenos and travelers seeking a respite from the city — whether you’ve come for a leisurely meal at the kaiseki restaurant Chateau Hanare (from $90) or a stay in one of the legendary bungalows. <em><a href="" target="_blank">chateau​</a>; doubles from $450.</em></p><p><strong>Hotel Bel-Air</strong></p><p>Ensconced in Bel Air’s labyrinthine canyons, this former estate feels ultra-private, thanks to lush gardens and discreet service. Carve out time for brunch at Wolfgang Puck ($95 per person). <em><a href="" target="_blank">hotel​bel​</a>; doubles from $595.</em></p><p><strong>Palihouse West Hollywood</strong></p><p>This eclectic property blends elements of a boutique hotel and an extended-stay residence to foster a welcoming vibe, particularly in its Lobby Lounge (entrées $29–$57), a fashionable spot for after-work drinks. <em><a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $335.</em></p><p><strong>Sunset Tower Hotel</strong></p><p>One of the city’s buzziest scenes can be found at the Art Deco landmark’s Tower Bar (entrées $32–$57), where celebrities and area residents congregate nightly. <em><a href="" target="_blank">sunset​tower​</a>; doubles from $395.</em></p><p><strong>Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills</strong></p><p>Known for its understated elegance, the hotel draws visitors of all stripes with its 116 spacious suites and the panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills from its rooftop pool. <em><a href="" target="_blank">viceroy​hotels​and​</a>; doubles from $525.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Say Goodbye to the Flintstones This Summer — Bedrock City Is Shutting Down

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:46
<p>There won’t be any "yabba dabba-doos" in our future — at least after this summer.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>USA Today</em>,</a> the <a href="" target="_blank">quirky roadside attraction</a> known as Bedrock City will be going away for good after this summer. So, say goodbye to Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and all your other pre-historic cartoon faves.</p><img alt="Bedrock City, Arizona "src=""><p>Bedrock City, a send up to the classic Hanna Barbera cartoon, "The Flintstones," has been operated by Linda and her late husband Frank Speckels since 1972, according to radio station <a href="" target="_blank">KJZZ</a>. The family sold the property to Troy Morris and his business partner Ron Brown back in January, <em>USA Today</em> reported.</p><p>Morris and Brown are turning the 30-acre property into a new attraction called Raptor Ranch, but we’re guessing Fred’s old pet Dino isn’t going to be making an appearance there. According to <em>USA Today</em>, Morris breeds falcons and other birds of prey, which he eventually intends to make part of his new attraction.</p><p>Bedrock City has kitschy Stone Age themed features like a themed, concrete entertainment complex, statues of the beloved "Flintstones" cartoon characters, and a brontosaurus slide.</p><img alt="Bedrock City, Arizona "src=""><p>Construction for the new Raptor Ranch could take up to five years, according to <em>USA Today</em>, so this summer may be the last chance in a while that anyone can pass by the area for a quaint roadside experience.</p><p>Morris is hoping people will come to see the original Bedrock City one last time and even bring photos of their past visits there for old time’s sake. He plans to renovate the RV park, gift shop and the diner for its farewell season.</p><img alt="Bedrock City, Arizona "src=""><p>According to <em>USA Today</em>, Morris intends to open Bedrock City around mid to late June.</p><p>While some roadside attractions have managed to stay in business over the decades, others have been sold off to new owners, for better or worse. <a href="" target="_blank">Roadside America in Shartlesville</a>, Pennsylvania, a popular miniature village, as well as the <a href="" target="_blank">iconic Clown Motel near Las Vegas</a>, were both looking for buyers in 2018.</p>
Categories: Travel

Lake Michigan Is Turning Into a Giant Pit of Ice Shards and It's Oddly Beautiful

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:23
<p>It must be <a href="" target="_blank">spring</a>, because Lake Michigan is thawing out into an otherworldly patch of glittering ice shards.</p><p>The water beneath the <a href="" target="_blank">lake’s frozen surface</a> has begun to thaw and is creating a sea of ice shards that look like something out of a Disney film or <em>Game of Thrones </em>scene. As the water below the surface melts, it pushes the remaining ice into a formation like the quills of a porcupine.</p><img alt="Shards of ice pile up on Lake Michigan along the South Haven Pier in South Haven, Michigan. "src=""><p>Although the ice may look beautiful, it is most definitely not safe for people to explore.</p><img alt="Shards of ice pile up on Lake Michigan along the South Haven Pier in South Haven, Michigan on March 19, 2019 "src=""><p>"No ice is safe ice, especially this time of year," U.S. Coast Guard boatswain’s mate chief petty officer Grant Heffner <a href="" target="_blank">told Michigan Live</a> on Wednesday. "The ice is certainly deteriorating and breaking up."</p><p>The lake has been frozen since January when a polar vortex walloped the area and brought subzero temperatures. After the storm, <a href="" target="_blank">ice shelves formed over 56 percent of the lake’s surface</a>. The <a href="" target="_blank">Coast Guard warned against walking out on the ice</a> as its instability created sudden patches where it became unpredictable. Warmer temperatures over the past two weeks have caused the unusual and beautiful ice shard formations.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Surf With Dogs and Swim With Sharks at This Hawaiian Resort

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 09:11
<p>When it comes to vacationing in <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii</a>, it’s hard to go wrong. Sun, sand, sunsets, and a cocktail is all it takes — until the opportunity to <a href="" target="_blank">surf with dogs</a> changes the game.</p><p>Visitors to Oahu’s North Shore typically come to surf the legendary Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, but why surf alone when you can “hang 10” with a surf-loving pup? Hina and Kahuna, <a href="" target="_blank">Turtle Bay Resort’s</a> two surfing dogs, join visitors for surf and paddleboard expeditions. Along with their owner, North Shore native Rocky Canon, the dogs help surfers catch a wave or paddle around the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.</p><img alt="Turtle Bay Resort "src=""><img alt="Dog surfing "src=""><p>If surfing with dogs isn’t your thing, the resort – which is known for their animal adventures – also offers glass-bottomed kayak adventures among the once-endangered green sea turtles, ocean-side yoga on horses, and shark cage diving experiences.</p><p>The resort is located in Kahuku, a 55 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport and 15 minutes from the historic town of there's litera. Turtle Bay Resort sits right on the Pacific Ocean among banyan tree groves. Their animal adventures are a big draw but visitors also come to play the resort’s two championship golf courses — Arnold Palmer and George Fazio — or to experience the <a href="" target="_blank">Nalu Kinetic Spa</a>.</p><img alt="Dog surfing "src=""><p>Whether you come to surf with dogs, swim with sharks, golf, or visit to experience the North Shore’s legendary surf breaks Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, Turtle Bay Resort makes a point to give visitors a taste of Hawaii’s wild side.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s How Far in Advance You Should Book Your Flights in 2019 (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:45
<p>Flight prices can fluctuate greatly, which is why knowing when to book tickets can make a big difference in the final price of a trip. </p><p>To help travelers as they plan out their upcoming vacations, has pulled together its annual <a href="" target="_blank">airfare study</a> on the best times to book flights in 2019 based on 917 million airfares from last year. </p><p>Airfares changed an average of 61 times before a trip in 2018, found. This can make tracking exact times to book tricky, but there are overarching patterns travelers can look at to make sure they don’t miss out on deals.</p><img alt="Find out the best times to book flights for the top deals. "src=""><p>“Five years ago, we started crunching airfares because so many travelers felt like the market was volatile and random,” CEO Jeff Klee said in a statement. “Today, we’re seeing that there are stable patterns; if you know the basics, you can almost always buy within a few percentage points of the lowest price.”</p><p>Overall, the study found 76 days before a trip to be the best time to book domestic flights, though there are various booking periods that come with their own benefits. </p><p>Take a look at the six booking zones has identified below, showcasing how airfares generally look from the time they are published at about 11 months before a trip to the last minute travelers are able to buy tickets:</p><strong>First Dibs (about 10 months to 6.5 months in advance): </strong> representatives recommend this window for travelers who care more about securing specific flight times or seats than getting the best price. These tickets can cost around $50 more than those available in the most affordable zone.<strong>Peace of Mind (about 6.5 to 4 months in advance): </strong>Travelers booking during this period can expect to pay around $20 more than the most affordable booking zone on flights, but they should find a decent amount of flight options.<strong>Prime Booking Window (about 4 months to 3 weeks in advance): </strong>This booking window is when travelers can expect the biggest savings, according to<strong>Push Your Luck (2 to 3 weeks in advance): </strong>Travelers might still find cheap tickets during this time, though the odds are not as good as they are in the prime booking window. Seat selections also start to dwindle during this period, so travelers may spend additional money to book a better seat option.<strong>Playing With Fire (1 to 2 weeks in advance): </strong>While waiting this long will often mean limited choices and higher prices than the prime booking window, booking during this time is still close to $135 less on average per ticket than buying at the very last minute.<strong>Hail Mary (less than a week in advance):</strong> This is when travelers can expect the highest prices, with tickets costing close to $220 more than what they typically do during the prime booking window.<img alt="A breakdown of various booking zones for flights. "src=""><p>While the study found that the specific day of the week a flight is booked won’t have a major effect on its price, the days travelers fly can. Tuesday was the cheapest day of the week to fly, with flights up to $85 cheaper on average than on the most expensive day of the week to fly (Sunday).</p><p>Flight prices also fluctuate depending on the season. </p><p>For winter, travelers can find affordable options as long as they steer clear of flying on Christmas week and to ski destinations. The average best time to book is 94 days (about three months) from the date of travel, with the prime booking window running from 74 to 116 days before a trip. Winter tends to be the most expensive season to travel, with domestic flights averaging $433.</p><img alt="Here's how far in advance you should book flights for every season. "src=""><p>Planning ahead becomes important for spring flights, thanks to increased family and <a href="" target="_blank">spring break travel</a>. The average best time to book is 84 days (about three months) before the travel date, and the prime booking widow is 47 to 119 days before. Average domestic fares are around $354 for the spring, the study found.</p><p>Traveling in August and September is a better time for snagging summer deals, with the average best time to book at 99 days before travel. The prime booking widow for summer is between 21 and 150 days before departure.</p><p>Finally, fall can be a sweet spot for budget travelers, offering average domestic fares of $342 with the best time to book landing on 69 days before travel. The prime booking window is 20 to 109 days before a trip.</p><p>It’s important to note that results on the best times to book flights can vary from one report to another. A recent <a href="" target="_blank">report from Expedia</a> and the Airlines Reporting Corporation found that the best deals can be found when booking three weeks in advance from most parts of the world, while <a href=";PID=7597878&amp;SID=58287X1516333Xfd0d67a8bb564f1932673730c9f2a316&amp;associateid=AFF_TRA_00014_00004&amp;utm_source=commission+junction&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=us-travel-2617611-7597878&amp;utm_content=us-travel-13268017&amp;_tck=b/fqwn9l6MTFqFPLF1/8ilVE0fESuLlDT8coKepLQog" target="_blank">Skyscanner also recommends</a> booking two to three weeks in advance for the best domestic prices. </p><p>While noting these time frames can be a good starting point for travelers, combining it with tools like <a href="" target="_blank">flight alerts</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Google Flights</a> can help make sure you don't miss the best deals, no matter when they happen to be. </p>
Categories: Travel

Virgin Australia Apologizes After 9-year-old Unaccompanied Minor Had to Sleep Overnight in Airport Lounge

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:41
<p>There are lots of rules in place when it comes to unaccompanied minors at airports, but every so often, a perfect storm of mishaps ends up causing a world of trouble for both the children and their parents.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">USA Today</a></em>, a 9-year-old boy had to spend a night in an airport lounge in Melbourne, Australia after his Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Sydney was diverted.</p><p>The boy, John Meredith, was on his way to visit his grandparents in Sydney last week, reported <em>USA Today</em>. When he was returning home, his flight ran into some bad weather, which caused a diversion to Melbourne Airport. But, since the F1 Grand Prix was in town that week, the airline was not able to find accommodation for most of the passengers on such short notice, according to <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p><p>One of those passengers ended up being John, who ended up sleeping in the airport lounge overnight. John was actually one of three unaccompanied minors on the flight who ended up in the lounge that night, according to</p><p>To make matters worse, John’s family was not notified about the diversion when it happened. At Sydney Airport, his grandparents were still awaiting his arrival at the normal time. Back in Brisbane, John’s mother, Katie Meredith, had to check a flight tracker app in order to find out about the diversion when her parents told her that John’s plane hadn’t arrived.</p><p>“My parents were sitting in an empty airport,” Meredith said. According to, she had to use her Find My iPhone app to track down John’s iPad at the Melbourne Airport to confirm he was there.</p><p>After some confusing back and forth with the airline, John’s family was finally given his new flight details. John was put on a new flight the next morning and made it to Sydney to see his grandparents.</p><p>The airline has since apologized to Meredith for the confusion, saying in a statement, “We take the utmost care when transporting unaccompanied minors and aim to ensure their nominated guardians are aware of any developments as they arise.”</p><p>The airline added, “We apologize for any breakdown in communication between our team and the child’s guardian during the course of the evening.”</p><p>Meredith told that she was more concerned about not being able to track down her child rather than him sleeping in an airport lounge.</p><p>“I couldn’t get onto anyone all night, I was on hold for an hour or so with Virgin,” she said “They need to have a 24-hour emergency number so parents and guardians can get in touch at all times about unaccompanied minors.”</p><p>She added, “It isn’t so much about where he stayed, it’s about not knowing where your child is 100 percent of the time.”</p><p>Unaccompanied minors can make many travel situations complicated, which is why both families and airline employees should take great care in making sure the child is looked after if an issue comes up during their trip.</p><p>However, airlines can still make mistakes, like when <a href="" target="_blank">Virgin Atlantic ended up kicking an unaccompanied boy off a flight</a> because there were too many on the flight.</p><p>But some airlines are trying to combat blunders with unaccompanied minors with new technology, like <a href="" target="_blank">Air New Zealand’s wristbands</a> that help parents track their kids while traveling.</p><p>In the end, peace of mind for parents benefits everyone.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Canyon in Iceland Is Closed to Tourists and Authorities Say Justin Bieber Is to Blame

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 08:17
<p>Love him or hate him, <a href="" target="_blank">Justin Bieber has influence</a>. And sometimes that influence can have unintentionally negative results. In late 2015, he shot his “I’ll Show You” music video in a little-known canyon in southeast Iceland. Four years later, the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon <a href=";utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=travel+news" target="_blank">closed all public paths</a> to the area after it became clear that the increased foot traffic was destroying its fragile vegetation, according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Lonely Planet</em></a>.</p><img alt="Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon "src=""><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Telegraph</a></em>, the number of visitors to the canyon increased from 150,000 to 282,000 between 2017 and 2018 and Daníel Freyr Jónsson from the Environment Agency of Iceland told <a href="" target="_blank">RUV</a> that he believes it’s directly related to Bieber’s music video, which to date has received 440 million views on YouTube. The agency initially planned to close the gorge for two weeks to allow for recovery, but extended the closure to June 1 after seeing the extent of the damage.</p><img alt="Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon "src=""><p>“This canyon was somewhat unknown,” Jónsson told RUV. “But I think Icelanders have known about it a lot longer. The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase of 50% to 80% between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”</p><p>Fjaðrárgljúfur is located near the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and was formed during the last Ice Age. The <a href="" target="_blank">official travel guide</a> to south Iceland reports that the canyon is about 100 meters deep and two kilometers long. Waterfalls are nested deep in the canyon and previously, visitors could walk inside the gorge or on the walking path on the canyon’s edge, enjoying the view from above.</p><p>Thanks to Bieber’s reach, a whole new generation of visitors to Iceland are discovering Fjaðrárgljúfur, but so far, the canyon’s fragile vegetation doesn’t seem to be on board with the Beliebers.</p>
Categories: Travel

George W. Bush Just Made His First Hole-in-one at Age 72

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 07:46
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Retirement</a> isn’t a time to give up your goals.</p><p>After years of golfing, former President George W. Bush celebrated his first hole-in-one with an Instagram post on Wednesday.</p><p>The 72-year-old former POTUS was golfing at Trinity Forest Golf Club, a private club in <a href="" target="_blank">Dallas, Texas</a>, this week. At the par-three 12th hole, Bush said he sank his first hole-in-one, with some coaching help from executives of the Bush Presidential Center.</p><p>“Next golf goal: live to 100 so I can shoot my age,” Bush wrote in the caption.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Golf Digest</em></a><i>, </i>Bush plays with a handicap of 10 points — so it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to shoot his age sometime in his 80s.</p><p>Bush is no stranger to the green. Golf even played a controversial part of the first term of his presidency. In 2003, Bush temporarily quit the sport after a bomb went off in Baghdad, killing more than a dozen people while he was golfing.</p><p>“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in 2008, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>The Washington Post</em></a>. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”</p><p>In retirement, he took up the sport again. In 2017, he <a href="" target="_blank">joined fellow former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at the Presidents Cup</a> at Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey. A few years earlier, he defended President Obama after his successor was photographed on the golf course.</p><p>Trinity Forest Golf Club will host the AT&amp;T Byron Nelson Championship in May and then it will host the PGA Championship a week later.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s What’s Happening With Brexit — and When You Need to Start Worrying About It

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:52
<p>We’ll know for sure next week whether or not it’s time to start worrying about Brexit.</p><p>On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Council for a three-month extension to continue Brexit negotiations. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said the commission would likely grant an extension — but only if British parliament votes in support of May’s proposed deal next week.</p><p>“In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days I believe that a short extension will be possible but to be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons,” Tusk said in a statement on Wednesday.</p><p>May approached the European Council this week and asked to extend Brexit negotiations until June 30. The decision is hanging on a vote scheduled to take place in the British House of Commons next week.</p><p>“If the leaders approve my recommendations, and if there is a positive vote in the House of Commons next week, we can finalise and formalise the decision on the extension in a written procedure,” <a href="" target="_blank">Tusk said in a statement</a>. “However, if there is such a need, I will not hesitate to invite the members of the European Council for a meeting to Brussels next week.”</p><p>Multiple European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that they would work "until the last hours" to avoid a situation that would cause the U.K. to leave Europe without a deal, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the BBC</a>. But Europe’s willingness to approve an extension doesn’t mean it will necessarily be so. May has already twice presented a Brexit plan to parliament and it has twice been shot down.</p><p>The current Brexit deadline is March 29. <a href="" target="_blank">If parliament does not pass the withdrawal agreement</a>, the U.K. could leave Europe with “no deal,” which would cause long delays at borders and passport control, temporarily halt trading and likely cause the British sterling pound to tank on the international market.</p><p>Although May has said she is not interested in pushing back Brexit any further than June 30, the European Commission could also approve a longer extension. Parliament could vote on a new deal, hold a vote of “no confidence” (which would force May to step down) or bring the Brexit vote back to the public with a referendum to remain in the European Union.</p><p>May is expected to make a formal statement on Thursday evening.</p><p>If the U.K. does leave Europe at the end of the month, it will still be possible to travel there. However, travelers will likely find longer waits at customs and may not have easy access to European-produced goods.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Design Is Here — and It Looks Like a Cherry Blossom

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:41
<p>The official torch for the 2020 Olympic Games in <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a> was released this week, and its design is a bit flowery.</p><p>Indeed, the rose-gold aluminum torch was crafted in the shape of a Sakura cherry blossom, the national flower of <a href="" target="_blank">Japan</a>. When glimpsed from overhead, it displays five sections, or petals, that resemble the flower. Each petal produces its own flame, which are united as one bright flame in the center.</p><p>The torch for the summer games was designed by artist Tokujin Yoshioka. It’s made with <a href="" target="_blank">aluminium recycled</a> from the temporary housing that was constructed after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.</p><img alt="Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch unveiling "src=""><p>“I designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch in the wishes for peace and healing of hearts in recovering area,” Yoshioka wrote on his <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>.</p><p>To achieve its one-of-a-kind shape, Yoshioka used the same aluminum extrusion technology that’s employed in the manufacturing of Japanese bullet trains, per <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p><img alt="Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch unveiling "src=""><p>It’s appropriate the torch’s cherry blossom design debuted in March, as it’s the beginning of Japan’s celebrated <a href="" target="_blank">cherry blossom season</a>. March is also when the Olympics Torch Relay begins, a time when the torch is brought across <a href="" target="_blank">Japan</a> and delivered to the Olympic Games. This relay marks the first time the torch will be displayed during the ceremonies next year. The torch’s <a href="" target="_blank">121-day journey</a> from Fukushima to Tokyo kicks off on March 26, 2020.</p><p>“In 2020, the Olympic flame will traverse throughout Japan like cherry blossoms blooming, and lights our way to hope,” Yoshioka wrote.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Massive New Theme Park in Turkey With Over 2,000 Attractions Is 3 Times Bigger Than Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 06:36
<p>Thrill-seekers around the world have a new destination to add to their bucket list.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Metro</a></em>, Wonderland Eurasia has officially opened in Ankara, Turkey — and it has plenty of impressive attractions for visitors to enjoy.</p><img alt="View of Wonderland Eurasia, Europe's biggest theme park "src=""><p>Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was there to open the park on Wednesday, <a href="" target="_blank">Reuters reported</a>, boasting that the new, 1.3-million-square-meter (about 14-million-square-foot) park “isn’t just a symbol of pride for Ankara, but all of Turkey.” And considering all the attractions guests can enjoy at the park, it’s clear to see why.</p><img alt="A ride at Wonderland Eurasia in Turkey "src=""><p>The park consists of 26 major rides, including 14 roller coasters, and a whopping 2,117 smaller attractions, according to Reuters. There are also several stages for concerts, a "Digital Dark Ride," a 75-meter (246-foot) tower ride, and a 20,000-square-meter (over 21,000-square-foot) “dinosaur jungle” area that has a 70-meter (about 229-foot) animatronic T-rex.</p><img alt="Wonderland Eurasia theme park opens in Turkey "src=""><p>On top of all the attractions and rides, the park is also home to the world’s second largest fountain, reaching up to 120 meters (about 394 feet) in height.</p><p>But not everyone is thrilled about the new park. According to Reuters, the park took 1.4 billion lira ($256 million) and over five years to complete. The park project began nearly six years ago and was only completed last year. Along with the exorbitant time and money spent on the park, there are still safety concerns surrounding its opening, according to Reuters.</p><img alt="Wonderland Eurasia "src=""><p>The Ankara office of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) told Reuters that they saw evidence of rust on roller-coasters and foundation issues of some attractions in photos.</p><p>Still, President Erdogan insisted that the new park will bring in 50 million lira a year in revenue, according to Reuters, and the park's general manager, Cem Uzan, believes that it will attract 5 million visitors in its first year. </p><p>Bigger theme parks have consistently been a big draw over the years. The <a href="" target="_blank">world’s largest indoor theme park</a> can be found in Dubai, while the <a href="" target="_blank">world’s largest underwater theme park</a> is located in Bahrain.</p><p>Issues with safety aside, the new park has already generated a lot of buzz from thrill-seekers hoping to take a spin on the new park’s attractions.</p>
Categories: Travel

A Family in the U.K. Is Offering $53,000 a Year to a Part-time Nanny Willing to Dress Like a Disney Princess Every Day

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 03/22/2019 - 05:47
<p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</em></p><p>If you've never grown out of wanting to be a <a href="" target="_blank">Disney Princess</a>, your dream job may have just become available.</p><p>There's just the tiny matter of looking after two small children, too.</p><p>A British couple are looking to hire a nanny for their 5-year-old twin girls, but with a specific and unusual addition to the role.</p><p>The nanny will be required to be permanently in character as a Disney Princess.</p><p>This means the successful candidate will get to spend their days dressed up as some of Disney's most iconic characters, including Belle, Cinderella, Anna, Moana, Rapunzel, and Merida.</p><p>What's more, the Disney Princess nanny will be paid a salary of £40,000 ($53,000) for working part-time.</p><p>The parents are hoping the nanny will teach their children about strong female role models and instill important values such as determination, fearlessness, and compassion.</p><p>In the job advert posted on <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, the UK's largest online platform for childcarers, parents, tutors, and schools, the mother of the twins said the family are looking for a part-time nanny to work during the week, based in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire.</p><p>"Like most 5-year-olds, our girls are obsessed with Disney and we feel this would be the best way to communicate some important values," she wrote.</p><p>"We know this isn't a normal request for nannies, however we think it would be a great way to teach our girls about things like determination, compassion, fearlessness, and ambition from strong yet relatable female role models like Princess Tiana, Princess Anna, Belle, and Cinderella.</p><p>"We are looking for someone who can commit to a character and create a really fun atmosphere in our home, but also won't be afraid to be a disciplinarian if the twins are naughty or act out — they can be little terrors at times!"</p><p>The ad goes on to say that "the right person will have a real creative flare as well as a passion for all things Disney and will be able to share that love of those characters with our girls."</p><p>The role will involve picking the twins up from school four days a week, organizing Disney-related activities such as arts and crafts, baking, singing, cooking dinner, and sometimes putting them to bed.</p><p>On top of the salary, the parents will cover the costs of all costumes.</p><p>"We think it's a great opportunity for someone to get really creative and add a little magic to our girls' lives!" the mother wrote. "So, if there are any Disney-mad nannies out there who'd be able to help us out, please get in touch."</p>
Categories: Travel